April 28th, 2009
01:40 PM ET

Obama learned of Specter switch this morning

Program Note: For more on Sen. Arlen Spector's party switch, tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/28/art.obamaspecter.wh.jpg caption="Obama speaks to Specter in a photo released by the White House Tuesday."]

Ed Henry
Senior White House Correspondent

The first President Obama heard of Arlen Specter's party switch was at 10:25 am Tuesday in the Oval Office when he was handed a note by a staffer, according to a senior administration official.

The official told CNN Obama was in the middle of his daily economic briefing and was given a note that said simply, "Specter is announcing he's switching parties."

A few minutes later after his meeting wrapped up, the official said, Obama called Specter and said, "You have my full support, and we're thrilled to have you" in the Democratic Party.

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soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Eleanor Coombs,

    I thought Obama knew when Specter flew. Get ready for a rumble in 2010

    April 29, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  2. Art

    I agree with Susan and Lynda.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:12 am |
  3. Cindy

    Good riddance Senator Spector. Personally, I hope more jump ship so we get back to being the Grand Old Party!

    April 29, 2009 at 4:52 am |
  4. Gilby-HI

    I was in high school when JFK was killed, a Pol. Sci. major in student government. So I have studied Sen. Specter under a microscope for a long time. He was the deal maker for the investigation. There was no internet back then so DC was not like today, where information is available.
    If there was a joker in the deck this is he. Some times you must get rid of dead wood. Some times it just rotts away and falls into the trash.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:09 am |
  5. Cory H

    ...Bush and Cheney, sitting in the Situation Room with the national security advisers... Before the US invades Iraq.... "We will call it shock and awe".... Same thought process for Senator Spector switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party... Shock and awe... Is it over yet?

    April 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  6. brenda

    Spector, however made the right decision to switch t leave Republican party. Just one more vote mean one more change. "I mean 60 votes go all the way".

    April 28, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  7. D. Bowen

    Hmmm..don't know what to think of Senator Specters party switch. I think I smell a RAT. I'm thinking that the senator is seeing how strong and united the Democratic party has become under the leadership of President Obama. Is he looking for a FREE RIDE???

    April 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    Specter started his political life as a Democrat He worked with the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy during this time.
    He eventually became a Republican and scored an upset by winning a race for District Attorney in heavily Democratic Philadelphia, running on an anti-corruption platform against the Democratic machine.
    Now he is a Democrat again – he has come full circle. He has been allied more closely with the Democrats in recent years than the GOP. The 2010 race for him should be quite interesting. The good people of his district may not care which party he is in as much as they like his stand on the issues.

    April 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  9. spiritbutterflygirl

    Good to see

    April 28, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  10. Susan

    It appears that Senator Specter has joined the ranks of many a politician that cares more about winning then representing us.

    April 28, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  11. Lampe

    Spector, seems to forget that it was The Republican Party, that won him his seat in the first place and kept him there for 28 years, now he is willing to turn his back on them when he feels he might not win again. Sounds like the same-ole Political Game to me.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  12. Lynda

    Actually it makes no differance one way or the other...they (politicians)seem to be pretty much the same these days. Republican ,Democrat, Independant..self serving egotists who care absolutely nothing about the people they serve(kind of an oxymoron: politician:serve)....never mind the one little fact that THE PEOPLE thought they were electing a Republican....it should be against the rules to switch parties in the middle of a term...what a slap in the face!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  13. Carol B.

    Hmm... political "conversionist," or operative? Although there's too many political conspiracy theories on a variety of topics, time will tell. Still, it's not exactly a case of Benedict Arnold.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  14. Larry

    Well, Arlen will not have to worry about campaign finances.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  15. Michael C. McHugh

    This looks like part of the big political realignment that's been going on for years now, like in the 1850s or 1930s. The Republicans have pretty much lost the North by appealing too heavily to the Southern base, while the West is still split between the two parties, as it usually is. It's very hard to keep North and South in the same party, though. FDR managed it for a while, and so did Reagan, but for most of US history, we have had a party of the North and a party of the South–with the South always playing the conservative role, lagging behind the North 50-100 years in in many ways.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  16. paul

    For whatever reason Senator Spector switched parties, I’m grateful.
    I liked him as a Republican, I’ll love him as a Democrat.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm |